Night is passing,
sun comes by dawn,
Awaken now, beauty’s essence,
heart of love.
Hakim Omar Khyyám

 

As the New Year began, I reflected on the number of people I know who had lost someone special recently. Funerals and services have been held for daughters, mothers, wives, husbands, sons, fathers, sisters, and brothers. Some deaths were sudden and unexpected and some came after a long struggle with illness.   Yet, all brought about grief and sorrow, which the survivors are each quietly traversing in their own way.

While the calendar gives a sharp demarcation between the past and the future – between December 31 and January 1 – these recent losses seemed to be a reminder of the more nuanced relationships of endings and beginnings.   As humans, we need time and a sense of past and future to anchor us within our ever-changing lives.

Nature has her own way of offering us comfort and strength.   We rely on the regularity of the patterns of the sun and the moon. Each morning the sun appears on the horizon, awakening the day. Like a sweet mother, she rouses everyone and sets them in motion toward their life activities.   At first light, diurnal creatures begin stir, birds sing, roosters crow, dogs begin to bark, and eventually there is the arrival of the din of vehicles and mechanical beeps.

A primal part of us senses the magnificence of the daily arrival of the sun.   The sun nourishes us not only through the growth of plants for our food, but through its light and vital energy. Different studies have shown that exposure to sunlight can reduce anxiety and calm the nerves. It stimulates inner systems, such as the metabolism of minerals and helps glands that take care of internal secretion. It is the natural source of Vitamin D connected to the production of the hormone endorphin, which gives us the feelings of satisfaction and happiness.

It is not surprising that ancient sages viewed dawn as symbolic of hope, the end of the shadows of pain and hardship, and the promise of renewal. The parade of colors across the sky surpasses even the greatest of human inventions and evokes a raw awareness of the powerful essence of life. We somehow recognize that within this one dawn there are the many dawns that have come before and will come afterward. Magnificent, splendid, glorious beauty glimmers in the morning light and lovingly charms the sun to shine anew.

This dawning of the day inspires the deepest part of us – our inner sun – to rise into and be held in the loving embrace of the divine.   Through the simple language of nature, the poet Hakim Omar Khyyám offers praise to the sanctity of life held in a peaceful balance between life and death, night and day. As the New Year moves forward, I will endeavor to awaken with the dawn, and hope you will join me.

Practice

This practice can be done anytime, but preferably at dawn.

  • Prepare
    • Sit in a comfortable position, either on a chair, or the floor.
    • Stretch your hands and arms out to the sides. Reach through the center of your palms to your fingertips.
    • Cross your arms across the front of your body and give yourself a big hug.
    • Allow your hands to rest in your lap. Let yourself release tension physically, mentally, and emotionally.
  • Practice
    • Reach your arms upward and slightly outward as though reaching into the expanse of the sky. Then, allow your hands to return to your lap.
      • Close your eyes if that is comfortable. Otherwise, keep them in a soft, somewhat inward gaze.
    • Imagine as though are lovingly surrounded and enfolded by the beauty of the early morning light. Allow the gentle glow to absorb any of your current worries or fears.
    • Quietly shift your attention to the quality of your inhalation and exhalation. Invite the transitions between the in- and out-breath to be smooth, even, and quiet.
    • Allow the feeling that your breath is infused with the soft radiance of dawn.
      • Imagine that each cell, each atom of your being is silently uttering, “Love. Peace. Joy.”
      • Throughout, gently allow these utterances to melt any deep gripping of the muscles around your heart, sternum, back ribs, navel, entire neck and shoulder area, face and entire skull.
      • For as long as is comfortable, allow yourself to receive the abundant awareness of love, peace, and joy ebbing and flowing. Let its presence hold you like a cradle stretched between night and day.
    • Still attentive to your breath, smile and stretch your palms outward in gratitude for the awareness of the light of love. If your eyes were closed, open them into soft gaze.
  • Transition back into your day
    • Sit quietly for a few minutes. Observe your surroundings. Imagine as though each item had joined you over the last few moments and were now glimmering with love, peace, and joy.
    • When you are ready, return to your day.

This poem appears in Mala of Love: 108 Luminous Poems, page 9, edited by Ravi Nathwani and Kate Vogt and published by New World Library.

HEARTH is posted each new and full moon and written by Kate Vogt. To learn more about Kate Vogt and her “Living Wisdom . . . every day,” please visit katevogt.com.  KateVogt©2019.

 

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